In about 1991 at a Renewing the Dreaming Camp, I was shown the Murramarang Aboriginal area by Guboo Ted Thomas, an elder of the Yuin tribe of southern NSW. He travelled with me up the NSW coast inspecting areas with environmental concerns and development applications etc.
He predicted that I would go on walkabout and within 6 months I had a job in which I was transferred to Jabiru in NT. He taught me a hummingbee, a toning which I have since done where necessary.
So I recently went south to Merimbula to check out some areas where I have dived which were pristine sites in the 1960’s and 1970s to check what has happened since then. The more inaccessible the better they were generally. For example Bittangabee on Green Cape where we had launched a runabout to dive, now has no boat access, but it a beautiful natural camping area. I also went to Mumbla Mountain, `where a mother’s greatest pride was to see her sons slide down the waterfall an initiated man.’ Guboo had been successful with NPWS in establishing a walkway and acknowledgement of Aboriginal history of the area.
This is near Bega.
I went to Murramarang National Park because I wanted to check on the Aboriginal area. NPWS have done lots of work in signage and tracks since I was there with Guboo, but it was hard to find. Only I had spent time diving on Brush Island and knew the seascape, did I manage it. What I didn’t know was the access onto the northern end of Racecourse Beach was the only sign on the road to Kiola.
This area is highly significant. It has been an Aboriginal campsite for 3,500 years, since the last sea level rise and has evidence of the changing nature of sea creature and other food resources over time. Guboo showed me dampers made of Macrozamia seeds specially prepared for ancient cooking fires and left in the ashes. There are no Macrozamias there now. I also asked about a crude cross I had photographed and he said he thought a family member had drowned there, in the old days. This was a seasonal food resource that the Aboriginal people used for generations and the most significant on the NSW coast. Guboo had told me there is an Aboriginal guardian of the area. Naturally I did a hummingbee toning there. I stayed at Pretty Beach well known for its kangaroos which approach campers totally unafraid at sunrise and sunset. Merry Beach looked very nice.
Check out more photos at: http://www.pinterest.com/chrisdeacon/MurramarangAboriginalArea
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